One of the downsides of my time at home is that, on occasion, I am prone to feeling isolated. This can obviously be rectified through various steps, but when the wider world all experience a real life with commitments and engagements and fully developed social lives, it can be quite hard to take those steps. Hell, it can be down right intimidating. A couple of weeks ago I had a full blown attack of this feeling of separation from the world and all those I love within it.
It was only a day, but it was a dark feeling that was completely irrational and swept me up entirely. In years past, I would have allowed the paranoia and sadness to totally engulf me for several days at a time. But not this day, no. I gave myself a metaphorical slap, pulled myself together and made a mini plan to see beyond the stone steps of my house. This last week, not only have I managed to ‘tick off’ two items from the Culturally Lazy list (post to come), but I even socialised with other human beings! In person!
I have written often about my Cie and how dear she is to me. She is incredibly important in my life and although we ‘talk’ often via this wonderful internet medium, nothing can really compensate for actually spending time with her. No matter what is running though my head, just a few moments in her presence brightens my whole day week! I know I can talk to her about literally anything and when that isolation creeps in, this comfort is always waiting.
But, she is one intimidating gal at times. Her life is always one of an action packed schedule – very super woman of her! She holds down two jobs (on top off all freelance work), is working with Kate on the Sew Make Believe Super Group, she blogs and writes and tweets, and has a social life that is so far beyond envious it is not merely my eyes which are green. And still she has time to be there for her army of loyal friends who adore her with equal weight as I. Terribly impressive.
For the longest time, Caroline has tried to get me out with her friends, but, to me, they were all equally intimidating. I can freak out completely at the prospect of meeting a room full of people I don’t know, but to be faced with a room of people who are all as equally impressive as the lady above? I am all too aware of my limitations and the prospect of conversing with people who are actually interesting and actually have things to talk about damn near terrified me. But, I was determined to shake the slump, determined to shake the pathetic loneliness I had for that one day and do something about it. So, I went to the pub!
Other than feeling remarkably under dressed, I am so very pleased that Caroline is a persistent badger-er! Friday night was just what the doctor ordered. I had so much fun meeting these people I had heard and read so much about (including two of my regular blog reads, Squeezgut Alley and Dolly Clackett – this was quite exciting for me, and the wonderful Carys of course whom I believe is a regular reader of mine! Hello Carys!) The intimidation was still there for a while as I quickly realised that this happy band of people knew quite a bit about me, eeek. But soon the conversation came easy and I could listen to all the fascinating things being discussed without feeling like a complete moron.
In fact the whole evening, whether they knew it or not, was a huge boost to my self esteem. I don’t think I have had so many complimentary things said of me by so many people who, to all intents and purposes, were complete strangers. But more than that, to be made to feel so welcome so quickly was heart warming. But it also helped back up a thought that has been loitering in my brain now for several weeks.
Growing up I never felt that my opinions were important or that anything I had to say was of any interest to others. As much as I have somewhat grown out of this, it still loiters as a paranoia in the back of my mind, particularly on meeting new people. But from writing this blog, the responses that I have received and the minor achievements I have accomplished over the last twelve months, I have been daring to challenge this fear as farcical. In fact, I am very close to suggesting that my opinions, although not particularly important, are at least interesting to some people, that people do actually listen when I open my mouth.
It is quite an enlightening experience. And even though Steve and Caroline often tell me of the ridiculousness of this self-view, it was the lovely people from Leamington who helped me to see it clearly. It did help, obviously, that I knew something of them to begin with to make introductions easier, but their friendly conversation and entertaining banter made me feel quite at home; confident, happy and encouraged that I do have a mark to make on this world, even if it is only a small one.
So a thank you to Caroline for allowing me this sneak peak into her busy life, thank you to her friends for being so kind and to all this weekend for helping to break the isolation. This has not been the only break however, for a short time at least I feel like the self-pitying-deprecation has been banished, releasing a more confident me, ready to take on anything! Starting with a red pen and some heavy editing.